by Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, ASWM
Background: The Association of State Wetland Managers is preparing to release a new 12-module online training series on hydric soils this spring. Guided by a national project workgroup, these web-based training modules are ASWM’s first foray into providing online training with an evaluation component. These online hydric soils modules, their associated quizzes and the ability to receive certificates of completion allow for participation in an ASWM training activity that is not a real-time live event. This project enables wetland practitioners who participate in ASWM’s online training series to explore the possibilities provided by anytime, anywhere web-based learning.
This blog entry provides a list of questions and our answers about ASWM’s new online training offerings. We welcome you to send us any other questions you may have as well.
Question: Why did ASWM Develop Online Training Modules?
Answer: Over the last two years, ASWM conducted several needs assessment activities, which each identified both the need for foundation-building training for wetland field practitioners to build expertise in hydric soils and the need for more anytime/anywhere access to training. Recent studies by ASWM have shown many states have reduced budgets for the wetland programs. There are also widespread changes in staff due to retirements, job changes and reorganization. The result has been a wetland workforce in need of new foundation-building training that can be accessed on an as-needed basis for staff. It is beneficial to get field staff the training that they need directly from experts. Specific to hydric soils, wetland professionals were requesting training to help them understand how hydric soils are formed and how to recognize and interpret the information hydric soils provide when observed in the field.
To meet this need, ASWM developed the online hydric soils training. Modules can also be used as refresher courses for those practitioners who have not had soils training in recent years or need to brush up on a specific area of knowledge. The specific target audience for the online training series is state and tribal wetland field staff (plus state/tribal wetland managers, local municipal officials, conservation commissions, and boards of health. The series will also be useful for others.
Question: How Did ASWM Develop its Online Training Modules?
Answer: ASWM’s series of 12 online hydric soils training modules were carefully crafted over the last six months. The presentations originate from a highly-successful webinar series ASWM held from July through October 2016. These webinars were designed to provide not only live webinar-based training, but to be post-processed into online modules. Careful attention was given to the development of both the webinars and the future modules that would come from the recordings during the planning, development and implementation of the webinar content. The presentations were recorded during the live webinar presentations and post-processed into individual segmented recordings (Each webinar had 3 presentations; which have now been developed into 12 online modules).
Following the live webinar presentations, ASWM staff post-processed the recordings and posted individual modules on an online storage site for video content called Vimeo. The links to the presentation content will be added to web-based information on the ASWM online training webpage on the ASWM.org website, providing the full information and links to complete the modules.
Question: How did ASWM Select the Trainers for the Online Modules?
Answer: ASWM worked with a national workgroup of wetland professionals to develop the overall project to increase access to high quality wetland training. Working with this workgroup and ASWM’s larger network of contacts, ASWM was able to develop a training team of leading experts in hydric soils. These trainers were approached to participate in the project. We would like to thank the project’s team of trainers for the generous donation of their time and expertise to develop and deliver this series of trainings. It has been ASWM’s utmost privilege to work with the following team of hydric soils expert trainers on this project:
- Dr. Lee Daniels, Virginia Tech
- Annie Rossi, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Lenore Vasilas, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Bruce Vasilas, University of Delaware
- Richard Weber, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- John Galbraith, Virginia Tech
Question: What Does Each Online Training Module Include?
Answer: Each individual module consists of:
- A description of the module contents
- The target audience for the module
- Specific learning objectives for the module
- A brief biography of the module presenter
- A link to the training presentation (hosted on ASWM’s Vimeo video storage site),
- Information about how to access the quiz and the quiz itself (accessed through ClassMarker web-based quiz tool) and
- Information about how to obtain a certificate of completion (also accessed through ClassMarker).
Question: Why Offer a Module Quiz?
Answer: The module quizzes serve two purposes:
1) To allow participants to assess whether or not they learned from the training presentations
2) To allow ASWM to provide Certificates of Completion for participation in a non-live training activity. By demonstrating learning from the modules AND certifying that they viewed the recorded presentation, participants are able to secure certificates they can send to accrediting institutions for continuing education units.
Question: What do the Quizzes Cover?
Answer: The module quizzes focus on basic key take-away points from each presentation. The quiz consists of five questions that are directly taken from the presentation content. Participants are provided the opportunity to take the quiz over if they do not pass it with a score of 50% or higher.
Question: How did ASWM Fund the Development of the Online Modules?
Answer: ASWM was able to secure an EPA Wetland Program Development Grant to develop and deliver high quality wetland training to on-the-ground wetland professionals. The online training series was developed as part of this project.
Question: How much does it Cost to Take an Online Training Module?
Answer: Access to all the module presentations is free. Access to each individual module quiz is also free for ASWM members and comes with a free downloadable Certificate of Completion. Non-members must pay a nominal $10 processing fee to access the quiz and receive their associated certificate. Participants can then submit to their accrediting organization of choice themselves to assist in their securing of continuing education credits and their associated professional development.
Question: How Does the ClassMarker-based Quiz and Certificate of Completion System Work?
Answer: Once participants click on the quiz link from the module webpage, they will be prompted to develop a username and password in ClassMarker. Once this has been entered, the ClassMarker tool will take them to the quiz page. They will be prompted again to provide their name and email address, which will be used to process the certificates. They will then be brought to the module quiz questions. There are five questions, all multiple choice.
To receive a certificate, participants must BOTH: a) certify that they completed viewing of the video presentation by clicking yes on the certification box AND b) complete all 5 quiz questions with a score of 50% or more correct. Answering “no” for the certification question will result in no certificate being issued. They will be provided three attempts to take the quiz for the module. If at the end of the third attempt, the participant has not been able to achieve a score of 50% or higher, they will not be eligible to receive a certificate.
Participants will be prompted to download their Certificate of Participation from ClassMarker after completing the quiz. Once they download their certificate, they can then submit the certificate to the accrediting organization of their choice to potentially receive continuing education units/credits.
Question: When will the modules be available to wetland professionals?
Answer: The modules are currently being beta-tested by the workgroup and other volunteers currently and they offer promise, especially for those wetland professionals who have a difficult time getting to on-the-ground training sites due to challenges traveling or low budgets. ASWM’s online training offerings are web-based and do not require participants to download any software to their computers, increasing accessibility. When they are available, ASWM will post them on the ASWM.org website and will send promotional materials out through all ASWM’s normal promotional channels.
If you have any additional questions, please send them to Brenda Zollitsch, ASWM Policy Analyst at or call (207) 892-3399.